Marissa Román Griffith and Christopher Spicer Named to Variety’s Dealmakers Impact Report

(Los Angeles) – Variety has selected Akin Gump entertainment partners Marissa Román Griffith and Christopher Spicer for inclusion in this year’s Dealmakers Impact Report—a list of executives and attorneys without whom, “the wheels of entertainment would come to a grinding halt.”

Ms. Griffith, who focuses on media finance and transactions in the entertainment industry, was recognized for her work on behalf of Media Rights Capital for properties that include the film “Baby Driver” and Netflix series “Ozark”; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; and the commercial banks Bank of America, Comerica, East West Bank, J.P. Morgan, MUFG Union Bank and SunTrust. She told Variety that the film community might be too focused on simply latching on to familiar intellectual property because many movies built on well-known intellectual property do not seem to succeed at the box office. “You have to execute the intellectual property in an original way,” she said, citing “Wonder Woman” as an exception with IP that translated as “unique, fun and fresh.”

Mr. Spicer’s practice focuses on entertainment and media finance, including representing Chinese companies in cross-border transactions. He represented East West Bank in China’s Perfect Universe film-slate financing at Universal Pictures in October and noted that, with financing from rights pre-sales getting more difficult, producers of independent movie and television shows are pushing harder on other fronts. He observes that this includes tapping tax credits, co-productions, licensed merchandising, product placement and more foundation equity investment. “It’s not necessary groundbreaking,” he said, “but these are not in the normal checkboxes you would traditionally see for indie projects.”

This is Ms. Griffith’s third consecutive year appearing in the Dealmakers Impact Report. For Mr. Spicer, it is his second year in a row.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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